At 76; one of the world’s best physicists breathed his last in the wee hours of the morning, at his residence in Cambridge, as confirmed by his family. Condolences have been pouring in for the iconic scientist on social media ever since, with several city folk also demanding for an offline tribute to pay to a man with a brilliant mind, and a steely spirit. We document views...
“Stephen Hawking is the living representative of a determined person who won’t cow down before any deadly disease and can make creative contributions to society with his responsible attitude. Till his last breath, he served as an inspiration to all those fighters across the world by continuing his scientific journey,” says Neurosurgeon and Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad activist Dr. B. Iqbal, who has penned a book Masthishkam Albhuthangalude Kalvara in which he explains about the genius cosmologist who was living with motor neurone disease.
Radhika Ramachandran, director, VSSC Space physics laboratory, “I am no expert to comment on Stephen Hawking, but I can tell you what I really admire about him. Everyone knows what he is known for — for his expertise in General Relativity, Cosmology. But he went beyond his field when he said that human race will not last on earth beyond a thousand years due to climate change issues. His exact quote is: ‘I don’t think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I’m an optimist. We will reach out to the stars.’ This was a time when missions to Mars was criticised. He said it is high time we look for the next frontier where humans can strive. It is not something you expect of a scientist. He was intuitive about these aspects, it suggests he was also a thinker, a philosopher. He was a visionary.”
“As a scientist, Dr. Hawking inspired us to think really big — at the grand scale of universe that is completely beyond everyday comprehension. His ideas were quite complex for me to understand completely, but The Brief History of Time made the concept accessible to general audience, and is one of my favourite books to read and wonder at his genius,” states Ajay Srinivasamurthy, an applied scientist and IISc alumnus (2008-10). He further adds, “At a personal level, his passion and perseverance towards science despite all odds is something I got inspired from and kept me going as a student.” Hawking’s theories made a revolutionary impact world over. But, it was the simplicity in his approach that got him followers by the hordes. Dr. Abhilash H. N., Post Doctoral fellow and research associate, adds, “His life itself was a drawing force. His indomitable attitude was perhaps as magnetic as his intelligence and scientific findings. The best part about Stephen hawking was his approach to explain science to common audience. More than all of this he will live as a child that is laughing its way into all the great discoveries that lie before it and bringing us the utmost of joy in just watching him. Anyone who listens to him or reads his work can understand his work at ease. This is a greatest skill, which I want to master as well. Every talk he presents is filled with life, he brings charm in daises, his enthusiasm despite a debilitating motor neuro disorder was inspiring in itself. And that was what set him apart.Stephen Hawking’s approach to explain science to a layman is one asset I would like to carry along with me through my entire career. If I can bring the joy of learning science to my students help them not just prove theorems and build hypothesis, if I can inculcate the ability to question my own works and re investigate, research until eternity that’s when I would pay a tribute to this greatest scientist ”
This was a time when missions to Mars was criticised. He said it is high time we look for the next frontier where humans can strive. It is not something you expect of a scientist. He was intuitive about these aspects, it suggests he was also a thinker, a philosopher. He was a visionary.”
A great mind is not limited by the shackles of physical disability, and that was his message to world, believe many. “He lived his life to the extent most of us can only dream of despite being on the edge of line between life and death all the time,” shares Phanibhusan Singhamahapatra, a Bengalurean, who is currently pursuing a PhD in Physics from IISc, Bengaluru. While Phani isn’t a student of cosmology; he believes the subject rose to prominence to a great deal, only because of Hawking’s contributions.
“His ideas practically shaped the modern cosmology and astrophysics. In the beginning years astrophysics was not considered an elite field in the physics community. But Stephen Hawking popularised this field throughout his life. He will always be an inspiration to young guns for pursuing a career in astrophysics and cosmology. It would be great if we take off a couple of minutes off and get reading as a tribute to a man who defined knowledge in a different light, altogether.”
Inputs from Cris